David Cameron jets to Florida for talks with Donald Trump

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UK foreign secretary David Cameron is holding talks in Florida with Donald Trump, as London pushes to win support from the former president’s Republican allies in Congress for more Ukraine aid.

Cameron’s talks with Trump, the presidential candidate, comes before he is due in Washington for meetings starting on Tuesday with Biden administration officials and Republican lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, a Trump ally.

Johnson has refused to use his powers to call a vote in the lower chamber of Congress on new security funds, including $60bn in aid for Ukraine, after pressure from Trump and lawmakers on the hard right flank of the Republican party.

The Republican block on new funding from the US comes amid fears that Russia’s invading forces will capitalise on Ukraine’s diminishing firepower and slower supplies of western ammunition to capture more territory.

Johnson has been searching for a politically viable path to move the funds through Congress without inflaming hardline Trump allies and other Republicans who have taken a more isolationist stance on US foreign policy.

Cameron had already indicated that he would lobby Johnson on the Ukraine funds — but securing Trump’s support first will be crucial.

“America needs to do it. [The funds are] blocked in Congress. Speaker Johnson can make it happen in Congress. I am going to see him next week and say we need that money, Ukraine needs that money,” Cameron said last week after a meeting of the Nato foreign ministers in Brussels.

“It’s American security, it’s European security, it’s Britain’s security that’s on the line in Ukraine and they need our help,” he added.

Nato allies have warned Johnson and the Republican party that failing to help Kyiv could be devastating for Ukraine, echoing messages from Democratic President Joe Biden, as well as Ukraine’s supporters from both parties in Congress.

The UK government offered few details about the Cameron-Trump meeting, other than confirming it and noting “it is standard practice for ministers to meet with opposition candidates as part of their routine international engagement”.

Cameron resigned as UK prime minister in 2016, shortly after the UK voted to leave the EU — a vote praised by Trump, who won election as US president later that year.

Cameron’s meeting with Trump also comes as embassies in Washington begin devoting more diplomatic energy on Trump’s inner circle. Trump holds a narrow polling lead over Biden in this year’s presidential race.

With Ukraine funding in doubt and concerns of a lurch to more isolationism by the US if Trump wins November’s election, western allies have sought ways to “Trump-proof” some of the security architecture that has sprung while Biden has been in office.

Nato has begun looking at plans for a $100bn fund that would give the alliance control of military aid to Kyiv rather than Washington, which oversees the Ramstein group to co-ordinate weapons transfers.

In February, Trump told a campaign rally audience that Russia could do “whatever the hell they want” to Nato allies that failed to meet their defence spending targets — comments that drew a sharp rebuke from Nato members.

Via

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